Define #Home.

homeI stayed my first night in a place that I actually own and pondered what ‘home’ is. I’ve worked decades toward this end.

‘Home’ is an ethereal concept for me. In college, in the military, at work, people often ‘went home’ for holidays.  I was already, I thought, ‘home’, because where else would I be?

Sitting in the new place, I wondered why I did not yet feel comfortable. There was a feeling of incompleteness, a void yet not an emptiness.

It was quiet and still and new. ‘New’ has never been a problem for me, my life has been about ‘new’ – change has been a constant as I wandered from place to place, living out of bags,  adjusting here and there. I always knew where my towel was.

Yet in that first night I could not understand why it felt so different. I slept well, and when I awoke it still seemed un-home.

Weeks later, having almost completely settled in, I know what it is – because it is home now.

It isn’t the things I moved in, it isn’t the furniture. It isn’t the people who come over because no one has and very few will. It’s because I did not have a writing nook, a place where I could sit and feel right enough about the universe to write what was on my mind. It was also the quiet, and the lack of intrusion on my thoughts by some incessant noise, and more importantly, the worry of it happening.

It was an anxiety of sorts, a feeling that the other shoe had not yet dropped – and the last place I rented on the ground floor certainly had a lot of shoes dropping above.

Home.Home is where I can write, where I can read in peace, and where I am comfortable – and the latter has taken me time because there’s no disruption. There is privacy, an air of security that I’ve never had, and a feeling of standing on solid earth where before life required sea legs. I worry a bit of this last thing, but venturing out in the world allows my sea legs to maintain themselves.

Home is where I don’t need the metaphorical sea legs, where the noise created is my own…

And where I finally finished this post I had begun writing 2 weeks ago.

Building A Home.

That Kind of Day.I am here to build a home.

When people spoke about home, I often wondered what they meant. I even wrote a little about my thoughts on it in, “You Can Never Go Home.

And I’m in the process of building a home – from, quite literally, the ground up, sometimes just moving stones.

A place for me to be in a very Erich Fromm sense. It’s not about having, it’s about being.

Since childhood, I’ve wandered. It was compulsory as a child – I had no real say in the matter, though I joke that I did if you corner me into that story. I was born there, moved to another there, then have lived at other there’s ever since. I think it’s been about 20 countries, 2 of which I’m actually a citizen of, and one of which has 50 states that I have been to 49 of. Sorry, Washington.

I look around, and I see I do not belong anywhere and I belong everywhere – but there is something about a home I have grown to know. A home is where you can be yourself, unconditionally (to the extent that you don’t attract the attention of law enforcement or armed services). You don’t have to live within someone else’s framework, there is no sense that you have to keep your bags packed, etc.

Even as I write this, my bags are at the ready in an adjoining room. I’ve lived a very temporary life, and that has forced a personal minimalism in it’s own way, but that personal minimalism is larger than that. I am used to living this way.

A house that was allegedly supposed to be mine was never transferred to my father and rots empty with a tree behind it, being caretaken by someone who sees it as the burden it is to him as it’s ownership is best described as bardo: in between states. But truly, it was never mine.

Another house was sold some time ago after water pipes froze and exploded – along with the marriage of my parents – but I was no longer living there.

Other places in my life include apartments, barracks with itchy standard issue blankets, and hotels. Sleeping was done in cots, sleeping bags, hammocks, couches and futons – there’s a crib or two in there somewhere, but that hardly matters.

So now I’m building a home on land I own. That’s mine. And admittedly, I’m pretty single-minded about going about it – but going about it is more complex than simply laying a foundation of concrete and adding bricks. It’s about getting a government to pay me what it owes, about making neighbors of tenants, and about people who just like me are trying to accomplish something – whatever that something may be, be it not going to jail for maintenance (child support), to making sure children and grandchildren get what they can use, to plain greed. Oh, the stories I could write – and perhaps might – but that’s beside the point.

Today, I moved stones to the driveway I’m building, by hand, as I watched concrete poured out of a machine at a house nearby. Someone mentioned it to me.

“Don’t you own that land over there too where the concrete is being poured?”
“Yes, they’re buying it. Waiting for money to come in.”
“And you’re taking stones in your pickup to do that?”
“Yes, I am.”
“You real stupid, boy.”

The idea about the two things being related is passing. It strikes me as funny when some people think I should be angry. I have my own things to do. I’m not worried about what others do – I see what they’re doing, but that doesn’t change what I have to do to build my home. When I’m done, I get to say that I did what I did, and I know how I did it. If I lived my life worrying about what others did, I would be very angry and would accomplish less. I’m working toward something. And I know how things work; it’s likely that they had an opportunity that they took – just as I do, just as everyone else does.

To write about all of that would be to condemn a system that probably should be condemned in the world of idealists and people of uncompromising principle that the world eventually breaks or disdains unless they deal in fiction that causes these myths to persist. The world is imperfect. Everywhere I have been, the world is imperfect, and to some extent that is what makes the world so interesting.

And here I am, building a home. Since the government agencies are denying responsibility for just about everything so far, water and electricity aren’t yet on the board – and if they are, my finances aren’t (which takes us back to the government). Rather than do nothing, I do what I can. I clear bush by hand, even weaponized chlorophyll. I move stones. I plant trees that I get, I plant crops that I can, I get fields plowed when the ground is right, and I move forward – ratcheting. Because…

I’m building a home.

A home where I do not have to worry about a lease being up, or someone with their name on the deed putting me out (family’s a great thing to have, let me tell you), or some other nonsense. Living in places as cluttered as the minds of others, screaming to be ordered but outside of my sphere to influence. Being unable to cook a hot meal sometimes, or having to sacrifice one thing or the other. Having to wait for someone to do things. Having actual privacy, not what is given. Not sharing a bathroom or toilet. Being able to write without having to leave where I’m staying because there’s no space to think, or even sit and read.

Things people seem to take for granted.

People have been telling me for decades to settle down with their words – they’re all dead now, oddly enough – but they hampered my efforts to do just that through their actions.

So what I am doing now – from managing land, to trying to encourage the government to pay me, to making sure that people within my sphere of influence can do the same – is all toward building that home.

I’m committed.

I’ve overcome greater obstacles for less incentive.

You Can Never Go Home

That Kind of Day.

In almost 45 years, my feet have touched ground in about 20 different countries.

My life has not been one tethered to a geographic space; every time I have tried something has pulled me or pushed me in a different direction. Every time I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would settle down, I end up having to move either for work or for some form of duty. Wherever I put my feet up becomes home for that moment in a long string of moments tied together by the concept we call time.

Sometimes we retrace our steps, but in crossing the stream, we never cross the same stream. Things change. People die, new people are born, people who had influence decline and new people rise to new influence. Previous friends can become mortal enemies, mortal enemies may become your best friends.

And you change. The world changes you. Some people sit in the same part of the world, living in their own little part of the global village, unable to truly understand the world around them as news of it is piped in from media outlets more interested in selling advertising than actually telling the truth about the world.

You wear out shoes and boots. Vehicles come and go, some becoming legend (as the one above was in my mind and the mind of some others), some become the bad jokes lived through. Time wipes things away, introduces new things, and does so without apology or excuse.

As a traveler, sometimes weary, mostly not, I know that there is no going home. It was once a lament, a pain when others spoke of their homes so warmly, but in the end I know, too, that they can never go home either. They may think so, clinging to a familiarity and comfort of what is there, but it is never the same home.

All that you can work toward, all that you can hope for, is really just a place to put your feet up and rest now and then. A place where you feel comfortable, if even for a moment, is home. And while home may remain mainly the same for some, in the end it is never exactly the same.

You can never go home. You can, however, make your home wherever you are, whenever you are.